ANFA meeting postponed indefinitely

Kathmandu, July 27

The All Nepal Football Association postponed its executive committee meeting indefinitely after the top officials failed to convince the members regarding the compensation issue of Ruslan Three Star Club.

The first-day of the meeting on Wednesday approved eight agendas but President Narendra Shrestha postponed it following heated discussions over Three Star Club issue. The ANFA top brass could not hold the meeting today and was postponed indefinitely.

Issuing the notice General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan said the meeting was postponed as per the instruction of the President. “The meeting is postponed until further notice as per the instruction of the President due to special cause,” said Pradhan in the notice. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 1:00PM.

The meeting was postponed for Thursday after some of the officials demanded action against General Secretary Pradhan and senior officer Gokul Thapa, who were found guilty by the investigation committee formed by the ANFA after they failed to respond to four emails sent by the Asian Football Confederation to register the Lalitpur-based ‘A’ division outfit Three Star in the second round of the AFC Cup.

The Nepal league winners Three Star on December 13 last year had demanded Rs 60 million in compensation from the ANFA, claiming the national football governing body robbed them of the appearance in the AFC Cup 2017. Three Star had qualified for the second round of the inaugural edition of the tournament after finishing as the group winners in Mongolia in August. But the AFC included Mongolian Erchim FC, who were runners-up to Three Star in the qualifiers, for the draw after the ANFA missed the deadline despite being reminded four times by the AFC.

The ANFA-formed negotiation committee and Three Star Club had last month reached an agreement on Rs 15 million in compensation and a couple of friendly matches abroad. ANFA floored the agenda in the meeting with an aim of getting the approval from the executive committee but Honorary President Tashi Ghale, Vice-president Bir Bahadur Thapa, who was also the convenor of the investigation committee, and Members Ratna Shrestha and Pankaj Nembang among others demanded the action against culprits before approving the compensation amount.

Spokesperson Indra Man Tuladhar, who is also the CEO, said the postponement of the meeting was the call of president Shrestha. “There was a heated discussion on the first day and things were almost settled after most of the officials had agreed to take the case to the annual general meeting,” said Tuladhar. “He is likely to meet the officials on Sunday and finalise the new date for the next meeting,” he added.

Highly-placed source at the ANFA told The Himalayan Times that the meeting was postponed after President Shrestha failed to convince the rebel office bearers to get the approval. “May be the president wanted some more time to convince the office bearers who were in his camp at a time when the election is in the door step,” the source said. “No one was against approving the compensation for Three Star. But the problem came after some of the officials demanded action against General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan and staff Gokul Thapa,” the source added. “And President Shrestha did not want to go for action as he had already warned them as per the recommendation of the investigation committee.”

Honorary President Ghale said the current leadership of ANFA was good for nothing. “The General Secretary does not have the password of ANFA’s email and he is directed by others,” said Ghale. “I proposed of dissolving the secretariat as it has been under the influence of an outsider.”